The recent release of the VW e-Golf in the UK has not gone as smoothly as Volkswagen would have hoped; incompatible ‘Combine Charging System’ (CCS) charging stations across the UK on the Ecotricity “Electric Highway” public charging network are preventing the e-Golf from charging at a ‘rapid’ rate.
Rapid charging is essential when embarking on longer journeys. The e-Golf has an official driving range of 118 miles, around 80 miles in real-world terms. Rapid charging allows the e-Golf to regain 80% of its range in under 30 minutes, offering a convenient means of taking extended trips.
In a recent report from Autocar, a problem was detailed concerning an issue between many CCS stations and the VW e-Golf. It is thought that a software problem, specifically with DBT chargers used on Ecotricity’s Electric Highway, is disallowing the e-Golf from making a successful charging connection.
With 32 of the 80 total CCS charging stations in the UK out of action for VW e-golf owners, it means they are largely confined to charging at a ‘Slow’ rate, capped at 3.3kW by the car’s on-board charger (there is a US-model that has a 7kW on-board charger but this is yet to reach the UK).
Furthermore, CCS charging stations manufactured by the likes of ABB and Chargemaster have been reported to charge the e-Golf without issue, so e-Golf owners are advised to use these instead (you can identify your closest CCS stations by using the Zap-Map “Connector Search” and then identify whether it is part of the Ecotricty network in the panel or by clicking through to the point page).
Volkswagen issued the following statement in regards to the technical fault: “A software issue with some DC fast-chargers means that they currently will not charge the e-Golf. In our testing with similar chargers, they operated as required.
“We are working with the manufacturers of the units to come to a solution. Volkswagen e-Golfs can of course also be charged using widely available AC charging using either a standard Type 2 connector or indeed a domestic three-pin socket.”
An Ecotricity spokesperson also commented: “VW and DBT are working on a solution that will update the software throughout the network, allowing e-Golfs to charge on the electric highway. This should be completed within the next week or two.”
The problem is obviously frustrating for e-Golf owners, although at this stage these numbers are moderately low due to VW electric vehicle only just launching in the UK.
The news suggests there is a continuing issue with the standardisation of charging infrastructure, something that must be tightened to ensure that electric vehicles are given every chance of being incorporated into the mainstream.
Autocar, Transport Evolved